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It was attracting converts from different social levels. Christian theology and art was enriched through the cultural interaction with the Greco-Roman world. But Christianity would be radically transformed through the actions of a single man.
Accounts of the battle describe how Constantine saw a sign in the heavens portending his victory.
Eusebius, Constantine's principal biographer, describes the sign as the Chi Rho, the first two letters in the Greek spelling of the name Christos.
The Colossus of Constantine, c. In he issued the Edict of Milan which granted religious toleration. Although Christianity would not become the official religion of Rome until the end of the fourth century, Constantine's imperial sanction of Christianity transformed its status and nature.
Neither imperial Rome or Christianity would be the same after this moment. Rome would become Christian, and Christianity would take on the aura of imperial Rome. The transformation of Christianity is dramatically evident in a comparison between the architecture of the pre-Constantinian church and that of the Constantinian and post-Constantinian church.
During the pre-Constantinian period, there was not much that distinguished the Christian churches from typical domestic architecture.
A striking example of this is presented by a Christian community house, from the Syrian town of Dura-Europos. Here a typical home has been adapted to the needs of the congregation.
A wall was taken down to combine two rooms: It is significant that the most elaborate aspect of the house is the room designed as a baptistry. This reflects the importance of the sacrament of Baptism to initiate new members into the mysteries of the faith.
Otherwise this building would not stand out from the other houses. This domestic architecture obviously would not meet the needs of Constantine's architects. Emperors for centuries had been responsible for the construction of temples throughout the Roman Empire.
We have already observed the role of the public cults in defining one's civic identity, and Emperors understood the construction of temples as testament to their pietas, or respect for the customary religious practices and traditions. So it was natural for Constantine to want to construct edifices in honor of Christianity.
He built churches in Rome including the Church of St. Peter, he built churches in the Holy Land, most notably the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, and he built churches in his newly-constructed capital of Constantinople.
Giovanni Ciampini, De sacris aedificiis a Constantino Magno constructis: Peter's Basilica, Rome, from: Clearly the traditional form of the Roman temple would be inappropriate both from associations with pagan cults but also from the difference in function.
Temples served as treasuries and dwellings for the cult; sacrifices occurred on outdoor altars with the temple as a backdrop. This meant that Roman temple architecture was largely an architecture of the exterior.
Since Christianity was a mystery religion that demanded initiation to participate in religious practices, Christian architecture put greater emphasis on the interior.Early Christian Architecture consisted of the basilica church developed from the Roman secular basilica.
The sixth century was a time of growth for the Byzantine Empire. Many of the churches built during this time were of the basic basilica style/5(5). This is manifest in the fact that most Carolingian churches are basilica, closely imitating the early Christian churches built during the days of the Roman Empire.
In some instances, Carolingian architecture also admits influence from the Byzantine Empire as well, especially from the buildings commissioned by the Byzantine emperors in Ravenna.
Christianity managed to exist for hundreds of years before becoming the official religion of Rome. In this lesson, we'll take a look at the early architecture of the Christian church. Early Christian Architecture consisted of the basilica church developed from the Roman secular basilica.
The sixth century was a time of growth for the Byzantine Empire. Many of the churches built during this time were of the basic basilica style. Medieval architecture truly emerged under the Carolingian Empire (ca.
), which produced many basilica churches and Latin cross churches (see Church Anatomy). Once again, however, few works survive, and these have often been subject to major restoration or modification.
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